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To condense the further claims of sloid instruction, as stated by Prof. Mikkelsen, it is admirably adapted, in the opinion of physicians, to improve the circulation and the breathing; and, from a physiological point of view, it is therefore excellent. Besides, as the speaker said, “School children often show a tendency to become round shouldered. This tendency will be counteracted by sloid work, which requires the pupil to labor with his arms wide apart.” The work is useful, also, as a corrective of bad habits in sitting or standing It tends to give symmetry of development. Children are required to bend the body at the hips, and are not permitted to crook their backs at work. They are also trained to use the left hand in some of the exercises; and, it is said, that as a corrective of short sightedness the objects on which the pupils busy themselves are gradually removed to a greater distance from the eye.
From the point of view of social economy, too, this speaker urged the adoption of sloid teaching. “Much of the poverty and want of the lower classes of society would disappear," he declared, "if the youth should learn to love and honor corporeal labor, instead of hating and shunning it, as now."
He thinks that many misunderstandings and disagreements between the higher and the lower classes of the people would cease if the former were to learn to appreciate the worth of bodily labor."
Then, again, "today very many boys, through unfortunate circumstances and through ignorance of themselves, enter into a calling for which they possess neither fitness nor inclination; as a consequence they have a feeling of discontent, as if they were not in the right place, and they are apt to become useless or criminal. Many such unfortunates might be saved to society through sloid instruction as a preparation for life.”
Again Prof. Mikkelsen continues:
We are unequivocally opposed to the so-called polysloid because we are convinced that, with many different kinds of labor to be done, it is never possible to execute a single kind so thoroughly as the interests of education require.
We have, therefore, chosen wood sloid alone (work at the carpenter's bench) as a means of instruction, because it appears to us, for the present at least, to be the only słoid method by which we can most certainly obtain the best pedagogical, physiological, technical, practical, social, and economical results.
Instruction in wood sloid begins with special single forms, and extends in an uninterrupted series of exercises, arranged according to established pedagogical and physiological principles, with reference to technical and practical requirements.
In this way the child will gain distinct ideas which may be joined together to form a whole. This clearness of conception will be best attained when the child perfectly masters the various working tools, each of which represents a particular kind of idea. Accordingly, each exercise leads up independently to one result (object), which exhibits in its finished state the work of the principal tool. But, at the same time, it represents a sum of related ideas.
In concluding this part of his subject Prof. Mikkelsen insisted that, in order to insure good results from class instruction in sloid, it is necessary not only that the shop, the tools, etc., should be adapted to the end in view, but that, “before all things, the teacher should possess sufficient skill and interest in his specialty."
The recommendation is made that drawing should be taught in the people's schools in connection with sloid, and that sloid models should be made use of for copying exercises in drawing. In some schools this plan has been carried out with good results the speaker said, as at Stockholm, where, in 1887, he was greatly surprised to witness the remarkable effects of this method of teaching drawing in the school of Mr. J. J. Dahlström.
“Next,” the speaker said, “after this general survey of the system, it is in order now to show in detail where every exercise has its place, and therefore in what sequence the working tools should be taken up."
We quote only what Prof. Mikkelsen had to say concerning one of the sloid tools, viz., the saw:
Give a child the opportunity to busy himself with saw, plane, kuife, etc., and he will always return to the first named implement. The reason for this is, on the one hand, that the saw requires a lively movement, and, on the other, it is possible for the child to cut wood with a saw just as he likes. It also affords the child special delight to handle a tool which he commonly sees only in the hand of the adult.
But we may cite other reasons for choosing the saw as the first working implement. The discipline demanded by the saw presents but slight difficulty. Then one may (more than in any other exercise) assume a healthy and graceful posture. So it comes about that the saw is popular. It is, besides, the most independent” of all tools; because with it one may make a complete and useful object without the aid of other tools, except, perhaps, a nail to hold the parts together. It also makes it easy for the child to understand a straight line.
Our saws are somewhat smaller than those used by workmen, and are so constructed as to require only the smallest possible outlay of strength. We distinguish the saws as the rip-saw, the cross-cut saw, and the back-saw. These three kinds should be employed consecutively in the order named, since each presents its own peculiar difficulties. The rip-saw cuts in the direction of the grain, and the position of the body in using it offers no difficulty. With a little practice this saw can be used with either hand, changing from one to the other. The cross-cut saw is somewhat harder to manage, because the saw teeth easily penetrate the soft interstices of the grain. But if the children have already learned by handling the rip-saw to hold the saw lightly and steadily the difficulties will be readily overcome. The back-saw requires greater precision, and must, on this account, be taken up in the third place. It would not be easy, with this implement, to preserve a good position of the body without previous practice with the rip-saw and the cross-cut saw.
This course is connected with construction-first, parallel, then rectangular, and, finally, diagonal lines.
S. Ex. 65- -32
· At this stage the accessory tools are the metre measure, the lead pencil, the square, and the hammer.
In the same exhaustive manner Prof. Mikkelsen described the place and uses in his system of the plane, the knife, the bit and bit stock, the file, ete.
In conclusion he remarked, “Such are the requirements which the friends of sloid lay upon the sloid teachers. If these are not carried out the whole movement must soon come to naught. The time of fine theories has gone by; we now demand a sound practice whieh shall secure what theory denied to us."